automating high-resolution spectroscopy

I spent a great day at Utah, in the care of Adam Bolton. I gave my talk in the morning and then talked with the graduate students. In the afternoon, I visited two large group meetings, one the combined groups of Bolton and Kyle Dawson, the other the group of Inese Ivans. A lot of things were discussed in both meetings. In the Bolton–Dawson meeting, among other things, we discussed what to do with objects that have uncertain redshifts or redshifts based on a single emission line (which will be a problem for SDSS-IV). In the Ivans meeting, we discussed a wide range of problems related to high-resolution spectroscopy. Ivans and her group is finding that it is very hard to automate certain parts of spectroscopic analysis of stars. We discussed how these might be robustly automated. One problem—which also exists in cosmological projects that take spectra of quasar absorption lines—is to find the continuum relative to which absorption lines are measured. We came up with some ideas and I volunteered to work as a consultant in the future.

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